This is the first chapter of Part IV of this volume on ‘normalizing’ ethnomethodology and conversation analysis (CA). In Parts II and III, contemporary CA and ethnomethodological studies of work were juxtaposed against their defining characteristics, respectively developed by Garfinkel and Sacks, as described in Part I. In Part IV, we turn attention to the ways in which ethnomethodology and conversation analysis (EMCA) is being retrospectively and purposefully recast as a form of constructive analysis in a drive to ‘normalise’ and dovetail it into conventional, constructive, social science.

This first chapter begins by examining how Garfinkel is being repositioned with respect to major sociological theories. Taking Durkheim as an example, it is shown that Garfinkel's idea that ethnomethodology is incommensurable with sociology is being abandoned and replaced with the idea that ethnomethodology can support a Durkheimian sociology. Garfinkel's strenuous protestations concerning the incommensurability with, and indifference to, sociological theorising is emphasised. CA is then turned to, and the argument that it is possible to bolt on quantitative methods to its analytic stance is examined along with examples that have been presented of how this has been successfully done. It is argued that this a tendentious attempt to reconcile CA with other modes of enquiry, and the exemplary status of the examples questioned. Equally tendentious is the recasting of ‘jobbing’ analytic practices into a formal method for doing CA. This not only distorts CA as an analytic practice but also is, in itself, a shallow idea of what an analytic method is.